Biofit feeds is the first company in Kenya to harness water hyacinth and convert it into animal feeds.
Lake Victoria produces 400,000 tonnes of freshwater hyacinth annually and this large volume has become a menace on the water surface. We are doing value addition to water hyacinth, turning the weed into high-quality livestock feed products.
In 2016, biotechnologist Jack Oyugi was trying to devise affordable, alternative types of animal feed. He noted that during dry spells, when other greens were exhausted, animals would turn to water hyacinth. However, animals like cows cannot feed on water hyacinth for long because of an irritant in the leaves.
After research and development, Oyugi was able to make a product that was appealing and safe for animals. Upon testing it both at the University of Nairobi and the Netherlands, and then doing a pilot study on animals in the Homa Bay region, he discovered that the feed increased milk production by 20% while costing half as much as traditional feeds.
Oyugi was able to obtain a partnership with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation which helped him upscale to reach a thousand dairy farmers in Meru - and hence Biofit was born. Oyugi brought on three partners: a veterinarian, a livestock nutritionist, and a crop scientist.
Since launching in 2018 We have partnered with government institutions, Parastatals, and Non-governmental organizations in Kenya and across the world.
Dealing with the water hyacinth menace had become a seemingly insurmountable challenge for communities living near Lake Victoria. The water hyacinth infestation has cut off vital income sources by smothering other aquatic life like fish, rendering fishing grounds inaccessible, damaging fishing equipment and hindering transport by boat.
Prior strategies to manage and control the proliferation of water hyacinth have failed. Biofit offers a possible solution to eliminating the weed while helping the community in the following ways:
Conventional animal feed prices have shot up to new highs, with manufacturers warning of further increases. Biofit has come to the rescue of farmers in the region by offering feed that's both cheap and nutritious. Biofit feeds can boost the yields of meat, milk, eggs and other animal products by at least 15 percent.
Biofit has created employment for 8 full-time and 4 casual employees. The team consists of 4 highly skilled individuals with a background of research and entrepreneurship.
Since water hyacinth impedes fishing activities, Biofit has contracted 20 fishermen to harvest the weed, creating a new source of income for them. The enterprise also boosts women's incomes by hiring them to do sun-drying of the plant.
Winners - Leaders in Innovation Fellowship 2019/2020 Royal Academy of Engineering in partnerships in Kenya National Innovation Agency supported by Newton fund
Shortlist - Africa Prize award 2019/2020 Royal Academy of Engineering.
Winners - Smart Catalytic East African Agricultural Technologies 2017/2018 USAID/FEED THE FUTURE
1 of 1000 entrepreneurs selected for seed capital in 2018.
Competition Finalists: Best innovation in Agriculture.
Negotiations underway with investors for capital injection of USD 250000 in equity.
Organized by the Dutch Government.
Shortlist - 2016